UNESCO confirms seven new World Heritage sites

Sites in India, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Kenya, Oman and Saudi Arabia have been granted the status

UNESCO confirms seven new World Heritage sites

Qal'eh Dokhtar © ICHHTO

Seven sites from around the world have confirmed as new UNESCO World Heritage sites.

World Heritage sites are ones deemed to have "outstanding universal value".

The newly inscribed sites include ones in India, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Kenya, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

In Kenya, the Thimlich Ohinga archelogical site - a dry-stone walled settlement believed to have been built in the 16th century - has been granted the protected status.

A group of 12 hidden Christian sites in the Nagasaki region of Japan has also been singled out, with UNESCO saying the villages, castle and cathedral "bear unique testimony to a cultural tradition nurtured by hidden Christians in the Nagasaki region who secretly transmitted their faith during the period of prohibition from the 17th to the 19th century".

Elsewhere, the Victorian Gothic and Art Deco ensemble of Mumbai are described as blending 19th and 20th century western architecture with Indian design elements to create a unique style.

The Sansa Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea, the Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Iran's Fars region, and the Ancient City of Qalhat in Oman have also been inscribed by the World Heritage Committee, which is currently meeting in Bahrain.

The Al-Ahsa Oasis in Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is described as an 'evolving cultural landscapes' - with historic fortresses, mosques, wells and canals combining with the largest oasis in the world.

Earlier this week, the committee highlighted Lake Turkana National Parks in Kenya as an existing World Heritage site in danger due to the 'impact of a dam' on the protected site.

They also removed the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System from the danger list, saying officials had taken measures to safeguard the site.

The committee will continue meeting until tomorrow.